White Dwarf 48 / Zlargh Slave Lord of the Black Sun
Trevor Hammonds brilliant graphic use of black and white, manic energy and preference for half-orc-half-dead, double-barrelled subject matter summoned to half-life a darkly comic, grimly violent and depravedly supernatural world of... the Games Workshop Mail Order department.
Opening a copy of White Dwarf in the early 80's meant getting punched in the face with Trev's eye-blistering and irreverent mirror-world, where Zlargh the Slave Lord ruled over his game-despatching minions Ugbash Facesplitter, Ted and Granny. By illustrating the page one GW mail-order ad, month in, and month out, Trevor created a secondary cover, an alternative piece which inadvertantly set the tone for the whole mag. Trevor reflected a kind of irreverent sub-cultural undercurrent now sadly lacking from the mainstream of fantasy gaming, which is all too often a drab po-faced wacom-painted vision. I like to imagine Hammonds was drawn with black bic and custom chiselled felt-tip marker pens stolen from WH Smith.
White Dwarf 62
As much as John Blanche incorporated some punk aesthetic in his work, there was always something slightly decadent and fetishistic about it, slightly new-romantic. Hammonds vision on the other hand is authentically yobbish, grimy and extreme. Whilst there are slicker artists out there ploughing vaguely similar black angled territory (thinking of Simon Bisley's b+w work on the ABC Warriors) it really does not get any more Hardcore Old-School British Dungeon-Punk than Hammonds world. You can almost hear the low fidelity crypt-recorded proto-blackened-death metal by simply looking at this stuff. Perhaps that's the superficial similairty Paul McHales cover for Boltthrowers debut album In Battle There is No Law, or maybe the caffeine...
As well as many of the spot illustrations in White Dwarf (mostly for AD&D and Runequest) Hammond also provided covers for the give-away GW fanzine Black Sun which accompanied White Dwarf (anyone know where I can get those?), alongside some White Dwarf subscription ads and also handful of monsters in the Out of the Pit column and a couple of articles in the Fighting Fantasy magazine Warlock - and that's about the whole published corpus of his work. Hammonds art stopped appearing in White Dwarf shortly after Citadel bought Games Workshop and moved the offices from London to Nottingham, and I've yet to find any published art credited to him after this time, the Pen and Paper RPG databases list is unfortunately very incomplete.
Whilst Hammonds aesthetic is missing in the daily art-department duties of Games Workshop, I'd like to think somewhere the accursed spirit of Ugbash lives on, perhaps enshrined in the Skull Throne of the usurper Khorne, waiting for the blood moon to rise and lead his fellow slavelords to victory!